What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, it’s important to get one that’s the right size. With an air conditioner that’s too small or too big, you won’t be as comfortable, your energy bill will be higher, and your unit won’t last as long. So how do you know what size air conditioner you need? Check out our tips below.

Signs Your Unit Is Undersized

It’s always running. If your air conditioner is always on, then it simply isn’t cut out to do the job you want it to. Just like you, it wants to take a break every once in a while. If it never cycles off, then it’s using up a lot of extra energy, and it’s going to have a much shorter lifespan. 

It isn’t cooling your home. If your air conditioner can’t quite get your home to the temperature you want, then it’s simply not the right size for your space. Sized properly, an AC should cool your home to your desired temperature every 30-60 minutes or so, and then cycle off for some time.

Your electric bill seems high. When your AC has to run around the clock to cool your home, it’s going to use up more energy. Even more so if it’s an older unit with a low SEER rating. Because of this, your electric bill is going to seem high every month.

Signs Your Unit Is Oversized

It only runs 10-15 minutes at a time. If you find that your air conditioner shuts off shortly after it turns on, that means it’s too powerful for the size of your home. The constant switching between on and off will shorten the lifespan of your unit and cause it to break down more frequently.

Your home is unevenly cooled. Because your air conditioner can’t run for very long before triggering the thermostat, it isn’t going to have a chance to circulate cool air throughout your entire house. This will leave you with uneven temperatures — some areas will stay warm while others get plenty cold.

What You Need to Look For

BTU Rating. The BTU rating is an air conditioner’s capacity. It stands for “British Thermal Units.” In order to know the optimal BTU rating for your home, you need to know the square footage of the area you want to cool first, whether that’s a room, a floor or an entire house.

Once you know your square footage, you can use this chart by EnergyStar.gov to determine the approximate number of BTUs needed. Factors that can shift the BTUs you need up or down include ceiling height, the condition of your insulation, sun exposure and how many people are in your household.

SEER Rating. We recommend you select a unit with a SEER rating (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 14 or higher. As you increase beyond that, you’re going to spend more money upfront, but save on energy costs over time.

If you have any questions about determining the correct size AC for your home, don’t hesitate to call us. We don’t want you to risk making a bad investment. We’d be more than happy to walk you through what you need to consider in order to select the right size air conditioner.

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Need help with your heating, air conditioning, water heater or air quality? Give us a call — we’re happy to help!